There was a time when people celebrated each other’s good fortune. Seeing a buddy, or even a stranger, achieve a dream made us want to go after our dreams. It was an inspiration, not an occasion for sour grapes.
If we are following social or traditional media, we see an “us vs. them” theme in many stories and threads. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests there are a growing number of people who revel in the misfortune of others, their “epic fails,” if you will. If those numbers aren’t growing, they at least seem to be getting more (media) play. What happened to the hardened newsmen that wept the Hindenburg went down, and when JFK was shot? A "rich-people" blimp falling from the sky in flames was not a fail. It was a tragedy regardless of how privileged those involved may have been. How did it become so “zero-sum,” where someone else’s success means we are somehow losing?
Your neighbor getting a new car, a friend landing his dream job, and a former co-worker’s startup going public means good things ARE possible – not unobtainable. In a world of limited resources, one might think "there is only so much of the pie to go around, so better grab your sliver." In a world of unlimited possibilities we bake bigger, and better pies. People pushing forward actually expands our resources. Economic pundits might say wealth is created. I think that statement is incomplete. Wealth is created, but it is also earned, and yes, inherited – if not by birthright, then definitely through work-right!
Yes, not everyone will become a yacht owner, Olympic Medalist, or Nobel Prize winner. These are awards, which only a small percentage of people earn. There are people who are all-too-happy to tell you the improbability of your goals, wants, and dreams. The rub is that you won’t likely hear the doubt coming from the haters. It sometimes comes from the people you care about most. They don’t want to see you struggle, or waste your time with something impractical or “unrealistic”. It’s your loved ones way of saying, “Be careful! It's your parents saying (in the back of their mind), “I’ve go to make sure this kid can make a living for himself, he can’t live here forever!” It ‘s not necessarily doubt that is coming from your loved ones - it’s care, albeit fear based. Nonetheless, the “problems” with an idea seem to get pointed out more than the solutions.
The problem with saying “the problem is”… is it rules things out rather than rules things in: Someone might say: “The problem with wanting to be a professional athlete is the chance of injury.” Or: “The problem with attending graduate school is the cost. There are no jobs out there anyway!” Or: “The problem with running for president is the dirty politics.”, and on and on...
But!!! What worthwhile things in life are problem-free? Maybe “the problem” is not a problem at all. Maybe those perceived problems are merely steps along the way. Maybe the problem is a project?
There are a multitude of individuals, teams, and enterprises in this world advancing in their endeavors despite the so-called problems associated with their respective goals. What if that individual, team, or enterprise were you?